This weekend’s trek to the mountains marked our family’s first mini-vacation under our Suburban Smackdown rules. After packing the Subaru full to the brim of everything we might need for a weekend of not-quite-roughing-it, we set off to find our rented mountain cabin. As we neared the town of Banner Elk, North Carolina, nestled between Sugar and Beech Mountains, we passed a very cute, rustic shop peddling very cute, rustic mountain goods. Trent, my husband, picked up on my interest in the shop and said (with contrived empathy as well as authentic delight), “Awe, look at ALL THAT STUFF we are not allowed to buy”. I threw him a bit of a weak glare and then we both just laughed.
So instead of wasting precious time in shops debating over souvenirs, we found our cabin, settled in, and then hit the trails. We hiked for miles, happening upon beautiful scenes of mountain streams, waterfalls, lush green forest and depending on the trail’s elevation, we found ourselves in unexpected biomes resembling the tropics and others that felt more like Frodo’s Shire. It was all beautiful. I was quickly reminded of how much I prefer trails, water, and trees to concrete and pavement and of how quickly I can recharge my batteries with a good dose of nature. The stress of everyday life just melts away. I could see it in the boys, too…the little ones and the big one.
We did find our way into a couple irresistible and wonderful old general stores where the kids found old fashioned candy and old fashioned toys. They both bought a couple pieces of candy. I found a glorious supply of hiking and outdoor gear which pained me slightly but, of course, I didn’t buy. We all bought ice cream. There was zero buyer’s remorse.
Our first little vacation of this challenge was remarkably simple, peaceful, and happy.
Switching gears a little, we have decided to write a small amendment to our Emancipation of Consumification (Suburban Smackdown Guidelines) based on reader feedback as well as a need for clarification:
- Since food is not part of this challenge, we want to be clear that growing food (gardening) is also not affected. We encourage people to grow as much of your food as possible, so have at it! Feel free to buy seeds, plants, and gardening needs as long as they are used for edibles or to build a better garden. This includes things such as lady bugs that you might use for pest control.
- Secondly, part of this challenge includes eliminating one-time-use disposable items such at paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups, plastic bottles, etc. So, in order to make that possible, we are also approving the purchase of permanent items that will replace the disposable items such as: cloth napkins, microfiber towels, stainless steel or glass water bottles, coffee thermos, mason jars, etc.